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Congressman Vicente Gonzalez

Representing the 15th District of Texas

After FEMA Denied Aid to the Rio Grande Valley, Congressmen Gonzalez, Cuellar, and Vela Call Out President Trump on Aid to other States

May 10, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today Congressmen Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), and Filemon Vela (TX-34) called out the Trump Administration for prioritizing disaster recovery assistance for other states over the Rio Grande Valley. Despite incurring millions in damages due to torrential flooding in June 2018, communities and families in South Texas continue to be denied critical Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aid.

“It’s unfortunate that President Trump only finds ways to fund disaster recovery when it benefits his supporters and reelection campaign,” said Congressman Vicente Gonzalez. “Last year, Congressmen Cuellar, Vela and I, together with Senators Cornyn and Cruz, wrote several letters to then-FEMA Administrator Brock Long asking that he rectify this grave inequity. Unfortunately, both the Trump Administration and the State of Texas failed to take responsibility or provide an explanation for the denial. South Texans deserve better than this back-and-forth. We owe it to them to do what they entrusted us to do: help our communities rebuild and recover. It is my hope that President Trump and his Administration will do the right thing, stop the name calling, and get to work rather than seek free airtime.”

President Trump made his remarks on recovery aid during a press conference in the White House Thursday morning after threats of federal aid being put on hold for Florida over Puerto Rico.

“The president and the administration must reconsider their decision and provide funding for the affected areas in South Texas. These people need our help; they were counting on us and the administration has failed them,” said Congressman Henry Cuellar. “South Texans suffered a great loss as a result of this weather-related disaster and the flawed process to make this determination needs to be reconsidered.”

In June 2018, the Rio Grande Valley, including cities in both Hidalgo and Cameron Counties, experienced serious flooding that caused millions of dollars in damages to the region.

“My constituents suffered devastating floods and this administration conveniently reinterpreted the rules to deny public assistance,” said Congressman Filemon Vela. “This has been a bicameral, bipartisan request that has fallen on deaf ears and I implore this administration to apply the same set of rules it has used in the past and reconsider their denial.”

Congressmen Gonzalez, Cuellar and Vela wrote several letters to FEMA asking for reconsideration of denials of disaster relief, after communities in the Rio Grande Valley were prohibited from accessing FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. FEMA has denied their requests each and every time.